Need for space pushes DC Thrift Shop several doors down street

Rhonda Worley, of Huntington, sorts through clothing offered for sale at the DC Thrift Shop, in its new location at 501 N. Jefferson St. The shop, formerly known as Malta House Thrift Store, moved into the new space on Jan. 27. Photo by Rebecca Sandlin.

There was a very good reason why the DC Thrift Shop - formerly known as Malta House Thrift Store - moved into its new digs just doors down the street: they needed the space.

"We needed a bigger location, not only for the products that we have but to do ministry at the store," explains Store Manager Chris Walker. "We've been blessed by the community giving donations, and we do move them very, very fast. But we needed bigger space."

The Dream Center purchased the former location of The Sewing Basket, at 501 N. Jefferson St., which had been empty for several years, and moved in on Jan. 27. Volunteers from the community and the Dream Center have been busy setting up displays and pricing merchandise. The store is open now, but is planning a grand opening celebration in March.

The store's size went from 1,500 square feet to about 6,000 square feet - enough to allow better marketing of goods and the possibility of expanding the local Dream Center ministry, which the store supports through its profits.

Walker explains the Dream Center is a men's discipleship program, modeled after the California-based Dream Center program and using the same curriculum.

"These men sign up for a year and are in a program and the money from the proceeds from this store go to fund that program," she says. "This year we want to open up a women's program later in the year, and that's what we're hoping having a bigger, expanded area will give us the capability to move merchandise a lot faster."

One of the new features of the store is a boutique section with higher-end, designer labels.

There will also be a drop-off location for items such as ink and toner cartridges, old cell phones, digital cameras and MP3 players.

The corner lot location also gives the Dream Center more opportunities to provide community outreach, Walker says, such as holding clothing giveaways.

The ministry has about 50 volunteers but needs more, Walker says, adding that youth from middle school up can work in the store to gain some work and volunteer experience as well as individuals working off court-ordered community service hours.

"We consider that being ministry. We're helping people," she says. "They've been down and out and who knows what has happened in their lives. Some things are just unfortunate events that happen, but we're here not to judge them; we're here just to love them and help them in any way that we can. At the same time, when we help them they're helping themselves, too."

Rhonda Worley, of Huntington, can often be found sifting through the shop's clothing racks for bargains.

"I love this store," she said.

The DC Thrift Shop's hours are Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Donations may be brought into the store during business hours or call the store at 366-3641 to arrange pickup of larger items.